Non-Life From Outer Space

on August 22, 2009
Featured in News to Know

BBC News: “‘Life Chemical’ Detected in CometAstronomers have once again discovered a “building block” of life in outer space.

Despite initial skepticism, NASA experts now believe comet 81P/Wild-2 harbors the amino acid glycine, an important component of protein (like other amino acids). The initial discovery was made when NASA’s Stardust probe captured material ejected by the comet in 2004.

The discovery has fueled speculation that life on earth began after a cometary collision.

Naturally, the discovery has fueled speculation that life on earth began after a cometary collision. Carl Pilcher, head of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, said, “The discovery of glycine in a comet supports the idea that the fundamental building blocks of life are prevalent in space, and strengthens the argument that life in the universe may be common rather than rare.”

Pardon us, but (as usual) we’d like to shower some rain on evolutionists’ parade:

  • NASA said the Stardust investigating team took a while to convince itself that the glycine signature was “genuine and not just earthly contamination,” BBC News reports. Though the glycine is of genuine extraterrestrial origin in this case, contamination is always a worry with hyped “life from outer space” and similar claims.
  • Regardless of whether the scientists are correct that the glycine is not due to contamination, the amino acid has been found in space before—on meteorites. What we’ve learned is that space contains a range of relatively simple molecules in addition to raw elements.
  • Despite Pilcher’s comment that “life in the universe may be common rather than rare,” we note that evolutionists should actually be puzzled—with billions of years and billions of planets (and all the hype over “earth-like” planets), where is everybody?
  • Although amino acids are certainly crucial to life, they fall in the category of “necessary but not sufficient.” Simply because amino acids exist somewhere does not mean they can piece themselves into a life-form. That has been the perennial challenge creationists present to evolutionists—not that there aren’t any natural (including extraterrestrial) sources of such molecules.

One of the most important things to remember is that an amino acid, while a building block of life, is more like a building block of a building block of a building block of life. Metals, too, exist independently in nature, but we do not expect sophisticated machinery to exist independent of a designer. Likewise, discoveries of amino acids in space merely bring us back to the question of how such chemicals could have self-organized into life.

Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! (Note: if the story originates from the Associated Press, Fox News, MSNBC, the New York Times, or another major national media outlet, we will most likely have already heard about it.) And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us.

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